Fr. Bernard Ardura, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, recently gave an interview about Pope St. Pius X. Let’s see if what he has to say about this great pope is tainted with modernism.
Pope Pius X Was a “Reformer” For Modernism
During his pontificate he was a very important reformer, but between his reformative activities, he also had to intervene on doctrine-related issues, as he was facing a difficult movement, called modernism. And his condemnation of modernism obscured the positive parts of his ministry. He was remembered as a Pope of condemnation, but, instead was truly a great reformer, a great innovator. Yes, he condemned modernism, but he, in fact, was very modern, which is obvious through his reforms.
On the contrary, Pius’ condemnation of modernism is one of the most positive parts of his ministry. It obscured nothing, but rather shed the light of Catholic truth on a most pernicious heresy. To then turn around and call Pius X “modern” is a sacrilege.
The interviewer rightly asks Fr. Ardura for an example of one of these reforms.
He reformed the Roman Curia, that was the same curia created in 1538 that exists here today. He was more aware than other papal predecessors that the state of the pontificate had to go forward and could not go backward, only forward. Therefore, he had this central idea in his ministry that the mission of the Church is spiritual, and must inspire the life of the world, renew the world. Therefore, all the activities of Pius X were reformative, as he worked to promote the Christian life, that of the person, and peace.
There is a lot of modernism in that one paragraph, so let’s break it down a bit:
He was more aware than other papal predecessors that the state of the pontificate had to go forward and could not go backward, only forward.
This is absolutely false. This notion that things must progress forward is simply the evolution of ideas, which Pope Pius X flat-out condemned.
Therefore, he had this central idea in his ministry that the mission of the Church is spiritual, and must inspire the life of the world, renew the world.
I am fairly confident that Pope St. Pius X would instead say that the mission of the Church is to sanctify souls, to win souls for Christ and for heaven. In that sense, the mission of the Church is spiritual; but Pius X would never have stated “the mission of the Church is spiritual” so baldly, without clarification, in so Modernist an age as ours.
Therefore, all the activities of Pius X were reformative, as he worked to promote the Christian life, that of the person, and peace.
When a modernist talks about promoting “the Christian life, that of the person”, he is focusing on man to the exclusion of God.
Promotion of Liturgical Reforms
Also important were his liturgical reforms, including those of sacred music.
What Father Ardura fails to mention is that the liturgical reforms championed by Pope St. Pius X were primarily the promotion of Gregorian Chant. With this passing comment, he implies that Pius X would have approved of all the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican II, the ones that in practice abolished Gregorian chant in the life of most parishes.
Pope Pius X’s Legacy
He is a Pope who was not well-known, and was somewhat badly known. And, therefore, we want to give a contribution to make him better known and understood.
For fifty years after his death, St. Pius X’s legacy was very well known. He was the first pope canonized since Pius V, who died in the 16th century. His canonization process was started a bit earlier than usual due to his wide popularity and the many requests of the faithful. His legacy only became obscured during and after the time of the Second Vatican Council, when Modernism became more and more prominent in the Church. Of course Modernists would want to portray him as badly known. They can then attempt to rewrite his legacy.
What Is Modernism Anyway?
When asked by the interviewer to explain what Modernism is for the unitiated, Fr. Ardura had this to say:
It is an error, a philosophical error, that relativizes a bit of everything, and from a doctrinal point of view, is something delicate. For example, different ideas were promulgated in the particular, cultural context of the time. But today, we don’t have to relativize these different views on the doctrine. Pius X, we can say, was working in a particular context.
The Church in which we believe, is inspired by the Holy Spirit in a context that is not by some accidental cause, but contains the substance of teachings inspired by the Holy Spirit, and therefore, we don’t have to relativize these realities, which are fundamental, because otherwise, we would have to put into discussion all we believe.
Here Father defines modernism as a philosophical error of relativism in various contexts. But, since the time of Pius X, we do not have to worry about relativism in these contexts, because we are in a different time with new contexts.
In other words, relative(-ist) to St. Pius X’s day, Modernism is not a problem.
It seems to me that the only reason we do not discuss relativism in today’s “contexts” is because a majority of the hierarchy has become Modernist, and does not agree that Modernism is a problem, even though it is far more rampant than during Pius X’s pontificate. Father would have been more in keeping with Pope Pius X had he called Modernism “the sum of all heresies”.
Incidentally, for months now we have been putting “into discussion all we believe” regarding the reception of Communion by public adulterers, more popularly known as the “divorced and remarried”.
Verdict: Modernism Aplenty
Unfortunately, this interview is not a good resource for learning about Modernism. St. Pius X’s encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis is a fantastic resource on the topic. I read and blogged about this document here. Sadly, the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences is rewriting history to suit Modernists, despite Pius X’s condemnation of the practice.
This has been another edition of Spot Modernism.